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Vladimir Putin's tiger tale challenged by environmentalist

Los Angeles, Sat, 17 Mar 2012 ANI

Los Angeles, Mar 17 (ANI): Vladimir Putin is at the centre of a new controversy involving a photograph of him with a tiger he reportedly shot with a tranquilizer gun, allowing it to be tracked to help Russian preservationists save the big cats.


A Russian environmentalist has claimed that it is possible that the 59-year-old shot a docile animal from a zoo and not a wild tiger.


Dmitry Molodtsov has said that there's a marked difference between the tiger that Putin was shown shooting in 2008 and the one shown later on his website as having been released back into the wild.


Molodtsov said the telltale sign was the stripes.


He compared the video of the Russian President shooting a tiger with photos that purported to show him with the same tranquilized tiger, pointing out differences in its fur.


Molodtsov also compared the image with another photo of a Khabarovsk Zoo tiger, saying there was a 99.9 percent probability it was the same tiger.


"It had nothing to do with environmental protection and the preservation of tigers," the latimes quoted Molodtsov as writing in Russian on his website.


"The purpose was only to increase Putin's ratings," he said.


Natalya Remennikova, who works at the government institute in charge of the tiger preservation program, said that the claim was false, possibly calculated to smear Putin, who has recently won the presidency again.


This is not the first time that he has been accused of staging photos.


In October, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted that ancient Greek urns had been planted in shallow water for him to find while scuba diving, the Guardian had reported. (ANI)


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